FORMER Souths star Mandy Griffiths isn't just adept with a hockey stick in hand, she's got talent calling the shots from the sidelines.
Griffiths coached the Canberra-based Central over 40s team to a 2019 Women's Masters Indoor Challenge gold medal at Wollongong over the weekend to cap off an unbeaten tournament in the best way possible.
Central claimed the gold medal with their second win of the tournament over a strong Northern Canberra Eagles squad, getting home 4-2 after a pair of final quarter goals.
"It's the first time I've coached at that tournament so I wasn't sure how it would go," Griffiths said.
"It's not for state teams but there were still players from Queensland, NSW and ACT that I know of, so the competition was still quite strong.
"I've played alongside a couple of the girls and coached all of them in outdoor. It was just a case of seeing how they would go."
It turns out Central were able to translate those outdoor skills fluidly to the indoor variant.
The team brought in three Canberra players from outside the Central club plus a Sydney member, but they were all able to gel together in a short space of time.
A four-goal blitz from Sally Walker took Central to a 6-1 win over the Sydney Strikers on Friday and a strong opening half against Gang Gang led to a 3-1 win later in the day.
Saturday's games were always going to be the big tester for Central but Griffiths said the team could be proud of the way they handled the challenge.
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"Our hardest game was against North Canberra, a group of girls we've played with and against and know quite well. They're a strong outfit," she said.
"We were down by one but we came back to win that 2-1. They had us absolutely frazzled in the first quarter."
Central also overcame the younger Esquires team 1-0 on Saturday with an early goal from captain Trina Dooley.
Those wins ensured Central would finish on top of their pool, setting up a clash with the Vibrant Vics.
Marcia Scally's pair of early penalty corner goals set up the 4-1 win and penned in another clash with North Canberra.
The teams exchanged goals over the opening three quarters and, despite an injury for Central, they lifted their game when the pressure was on.
"One of our girls took a ball to the head and had a concussion. We had to change our lineup for the last quarter and change where our strength was but we ended up getting two goals quickly," Griffith said.
"We had goals spread out across the team, which was great to see, and credit to our girls for playing some great hockey and making quick subs in the heat.
"Playing indoor is different to outdoor, and with a lot of games in a short space of time it's very stop-start. It was a credit to the girls to get through to the final without any injuries."
Walker, Dooley, Lynette Watson and Anna MacDonald all got on the score sheet for Central in the final.